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California Budget Deal Reached on Health Funding for Counties

Jun 11, 2013

The California state budget deal reached this week includes some restored funding for dental care for the poor, and millions of dollars for mental health services. And as Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports, county and state officials are finalizing the details of how local governments will use health care money.  

After months of negotiations, the Brown administration and county representatives have struck a deal - the state can redirect some money away from county health programs, but the counties will have some choice in how that’s done.   

“The major framework of the deal is something that works,” says Farrah McDaid Ting  of the California State Association of Counties. She said some counties will have the option of forfeiting 60 percent of their health funds, or choosing a formula where those dollars are diverted based on actual spending.

“Treating the different counties differently, and letting them have an option on what works best for them I think is a good outcome for counties,” says McDaid Ting.

Money taken from county health will be redirected to provide cash aid to low-income Californians. The state says the agreement will save general fund dollars in anticipation of new responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.   

But the deal means counties will have $300 million less to pay for health services next year.